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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a foreclosed house that will need the kitchen and bathrooms rebuilt, especially the kitchen cabinets.

I will build a 20x30 workshop in the back yard on a concrete foundation over the next year. It will serve many purposes.

I suppose I need a table saw. What else do I need at a minimum (nothing I can do without) to make kitchen cabinets?

Is Craftsman OK? Or what should I look at? Price is very important.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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That's a pretty general question. You could spend any amount of money.

Do you want new or used tools?
120V or 220V?
Will they need to be portable?

You have as many options as you do with buying a new car
 

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I often make this same comment to folks starting out in woodworking... only buy the tools you need for whatever task you are doing.

First, let me mention tool quality. Don't throw your $ out the window on cheap tools you will need to replace. In my humble opinion, Craftsman is no longer a good name. I have a few Craftsman tools I wish I didn't own for instance, my 12inch band saw is a 4 year old craftsman and the tensioner has broken twice and the switch is stuck in the "ON" position. I had to buy a foot pedal switch to turn the saw on and off. I'm sure some folks will strongly disagree with me on this one and that's fine. I own a JET table saw that cost me twice as much as a Craftsman but it's very dependable and very accurate. It's 13 years since I bought it and I still smile when I turn it on.

For kitchen cabinets, you will also need a router (minimum of 2hp to turn those big panel bits) and a router table. Now you could make flat panels on the table saw depending on your skill level. I mention the "skill level" because if you want to make tight square doors on the ts, you'll need to know your joinery.

Speaking of joinery, do you want dovetails on your drawers and if so, do you know how to make them? A router and a dovetail jig can make the task easier but dovetails can be made on the ts or by hand. There's a few folks on this forum who makes great looking furniture using hand tools only.

Think about your skill level and let us know so we can help you better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's a pretty general question. You could spend any amount of money.

Do you want new or used tools?
120V or 220V?
Will they need to be portable?

You have as many options as you do with buying a new car

Thanks, yes, a little focus might help.

I will put 220 in if necessary; I don't know if it is. I'd like to spend the minimum possible to get the necessary tools that are of good enough quality to make nice looking cabinets. I do not know who makes table saws (aside from what you see at Sears, Home Depot, etc.). If I knew how to assess the condition of a used table saw, I'd be fine with used, to save money. I'm an hour from El Paso and have a pickup so could buy used.
I didn't think about portability. It would be good to be able to move the equipment out of the way when my workshop is being used for other stuff, but need not be transportable to a different location (e.g. job site). My home will be the job site.

Thanks, hope that helps narrow my needs...

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I often make this same comment to folks starting out in woodworking... only buy the tools you need for whatever task you are doing.

First, let me mention tool quality. Don't throw your $ out the window on cheap tools you will need to replace. In my humble opinion, Craftsman is no longer a good name. I have a few Craftsman tools I wish I didn't own for instance, my 12inch band saw is a 4 year old craftsman and the tensioner has broken twice and the switch is stuck in the "ON" position. I had to buy a foot pedal switch to turn the saw on and off. I'm sure some folks will strongly disagree with me on this one and that's fine. I own a JET table saw that cost me twice as much as a Craftsman but it's very dependable and very accurate. It's 13 years since I bought it and I still smile when I turn it on.

For kitchen cabinets, you will also need a router (minimum of 2hp to turn those big panel bits) and a router table. Now you could make flat panels on the table saw depending on your skill level. I mention the "skill level" because if you want to make tight square doors on the ts, you'll need to know your joinery.

Speaking of joinery, do you want dovetails on your drawers and if so, do you know how to make them? A router and a dovetail jig can make the task easier but dovetails can be made on the ts or by hand. There's a few folks on this forum who makes great looking furniture using hand tools only.

Think about your skill level and let us know so we can help you better.
Thanks. You can assume my skill level is nil. I have no experience with woodworking beyond cutting pieces of wood with my Skill saw to make crude tables, stands, shelves for my hobbies, etc.

As to whether to buy a dedicated tool (e.g. for making dovetails) or just do it with the TS or by hand, I don't want to spend a lifetime on this and have a busy career, so if something is needed frequently in making cabinets, I would like to buy the tool for it, to get the job done, unless the price makes me decide otherwise. Basically, if a tool will make the cabinets look better, and significantly cut the time needed, I'll tend to buy it. But I don't know what I'm in for here price wise (ergo my question). How I approach all this will be heavily influenced by price. I do not want to start a new hobby of woodworking, and since I love working with wood and really love wood, I have to guard against that. I have hobbies and don't want to take time away from them. So I just want to get the cabinets built, and it will be nice to have the tools when I want to make something else, or I may just sell them, having completed the needed work on the house. So though I love nothing more than a beautifully made, fine tool, spending twice the $$ on a JET if a Craftsman will make just as pretty a cabinet with about the same time investment is probably not the right approach for me. If a Craftsman is going to cause me to redo cuts, buy extra wood, settle for less perfect work, then the JET might be in line depending on cost.

I guess I should emphasize that the objective is just to make the cabinets needed in my home, then I may or may not sell the tools off.

Thanks for your very thoughtful message.

Jim
 

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where's my table saw?
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30 years ago I made my own kitchen cabs

I used a Craftsman table saw and Melamine surface 1/2" particle board. 10 years later I bought commercial cabs by Welborn Mission style in Hickory....Great!

You not only need a good table saw, but a big side extension for ripping wide panels and an outfeed table UNLESS you part down the panels into smaller pieces using a Skil saw and straight edge guide measuring 2X for each cut...PITA!

There are track saws by Grizzly, Makita, Dewalt and Festool $$$ that are pretty good for panel and sheet goods. Unless you have a serious budget restriction, love to work with larger heavy panels, love woodworking, measuring, precision measuring and cutting I would look for some commercial cabinets on sale or through a builders supply.

I still have the Craftsman saw from the 80's and it still works just fine.... and since then I've made other cabinets and vanities and head board, chest, jewelry boxes and a variety of woodworking projects. You mentioned selling the tools after making the cabs, which makes me think you should just buy and not get to far into woodworking ....I donno?
 

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Hello,

Other then what has already been posted, I would suggest doing some research online, Go to youtube and search for cabinet making videos and take notes on what tools are being used. everything from table saws to routers to cordless drills. make your list, then check the reviews on them. If your starting out with zero or very few tools and are at a beginner skill level I would also check into some woodworking classes. hit up the local collage(s) and see if there is a rockler store or woodcraft store in your area. They sell mid to high end tools. but they also have listings of local classes that would benefit you more then the tools themselves.

I wish you the best of luck on your endeavors. It will be a rough road. but the end will be worth the travel!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thank you guys. I just got back from Home Depot, found a mid priced cabinet style that was OK, sorta, and got a very rough estimate of 7000 for their catinets. It was 185 a linear foot or so. I have an appointment tomorrow morning with their cabinet guy who also built all the cabinets in his own home, to go over stuff. My gut reaction right now is, wow, 7000 would buy a nice shop, but I don't know how much the wood would cost. My other gut reaction was everything I saw at HD was not appealing. I really want some beautiful cabinets. I can probably find some at a more upscale shop, but then more money. Making my own is more appealing than ever.

HD had a portable and a cast iron table saw each around 500. Can the portable do a good job if you build surrounding tables to support the work?

Good idea on watching youtube videos and making a list of the tools needed. I think I'll start with Norm though...

The entire New Yankee Workshop show is here free online:
http://www.tv.com/shows/the-new-yankee-workshop/episodes/

Season 20 is the kitchen series. There are shows that are tutorials on the table saw, the router, etc. too.

Thanks for spurring me to search for this, this show is fascinating and I used to watch it a lot :).

I am taking two carpentry classes at the Jr. College next fall, to learn how to frame my workshop. I don't know if they have cabinetry classes.

Jim
 

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Making sawdust in MS
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I said the same thing when I built my kitchen cabinets, that I would probably sell my tools after I was done. I knew nothing of woodworking, at all. A good friend told me he would help me by showing me what to do and how to do it. He said he would buy my tablesaw when I was done, if I didn't want it any more. By the time we were finished, I was hooked. I didn't really have any other hobbies up until then. But I knew I'd found one by the time my kitchen was done. I've been a woodworking addict since then. Good luck with your cabinets, and if you have questions along the way, c'mon back and ask em. The folks are very knowlegeable here and are great to help out with answers. They may give you different opinions, but that's the beauty of this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I said the same thing when I built my kitchen cabinets, that I would probably sell my tools after I was done. I knew nothing of woodworking, at all. A good friend told me he would help me by showing me what to do and how to do it. He said he would buy my tablesaw when I was done, if I didn't want it any more. By the time we were finished, I was hooked. I didn't really have any other hobbies up until then. But I knew I'd found one by the time my kitchen was done. I've been a woodworking addict since then. Good luck with your cabinets, and if you have questions along the way, c'mon back and ask em. The folks are very knowlegeable here and are great to help out with answers. They may give you different opinions, but that's the beauty of this forum.

Thanks Ray. You've come a long way. The Cherry table you made for your wife is just mind blowing. Amazing!!! My jaw is still stuck to my desk. Wow, that is beautiful.

Then I started looking at other people's galleries. Now I am really intimidated. Wow, you guys are good, and make beautiful stuff. It's certainly nothing like Ashley furniture. And that's kinda how I want to feel about my kitchen cabinets.

I guess after the cabinets, I would enjoy making my own furniture...

Jim
 

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To determine what you would need minimally, you have to decide what kind of cabinet you want to make. What material for the boxes, what finish for the interior, exterior, what type of doors, etc.

For a minimum budget, you could conceivably just need a table saw. But, as you will find out the costs involved for you to make them aren't just with the machinery, as there are other tools needed (depending) that can get into your budget, like hand tools, hardware supplies, etc. So, making the initial decisions can better place guesswork on costs, and what you will need.





.
 

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I often make this same comment to folks starting out in woodworking... only buy the tools you need for whatever task you are doing.

First, let me mention tool quality. Don't throw your $ out the window on cheap tools you will need to replace. In my humble opinion, Craftsman is no longer a good name. I have a few Craftsman tools I wish I didn't own for instance, my 12inch band saw is a 4 year old craftsman and the tensioner has broken twice and the switch is stuck in the "ON" position. I had to buy a foot pedal switch to turn the saw on and off. I'm sure some folks will strongly disagree with me on this one and that's fine. I own a JET table saw that cost me twice as much as a Craftsman but it's very dependable and very accurate. It's 13 years since I bought it and I still smile when I turn it on.

For kitchen cabinets, you will also need a router (minimum of 2hp to turn those big panel bits) and a router table. Now you could make flat panels on the table saw depending on your skill level. I mention the "skill level" because if you want to make tight square doors on the ts, you'll need to know your joinery.

Speaking of joinery, do you want dovetails on your drawers and if so, do you know how to make them? A router and a dovetail jig can make the task easier but dovetails can be made on the ts or by hand. There's a few folks on this forum who makes great looking furniture using hand tools only.

Think about your skill level and let us know so we can help you better.
I will be one to disagree with the poster on Craftsman tools. Over they years I have found that they do a very good for my needs. virtually all power tools that I own are Craftsman. I would not hesitate to buy more if needed.

George
 

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Thanks. You can assume my skill level is nil. I have no experience with woodworking beyond cutting pieces of wood with my Skill saw to make crude tables, stands, shelves for my hobbies, etc.

As to whether to buy a dedicated tool (e.g. for making dovetails) or just do it with the TS or by hand, I don't want to spend a lifetime on this and have a busy career, so if something is needed frequently in making cabinets, I would like to buy the tool for it, to get the job done, unless the price makes me decide otherwise. Basically, if a tool will make the cabinets look better, and significantly cut the time needed, I'll tend to buy it. But I don't know what I'm in for here price wise (ergo my question). How I approach all this will be heavily influenced by price. I do not want to start a new hobby of woodworking, and since I love working with wood and really love wood, I have to guard against that. I have hobbies and don't want to take time away from them. So I just want to get the cabinets built, and it will be nice to have the tools when I want to make something else, or I may just sell them, having completed the needed work on the house. So though I love nothing more than a beautifully made, fine tool, spending twice the $$ on a JET if a Craftsman will make just as pretty a cabinet with about the same time investment is probably not the right approach for me. If a Craftsman is going to cause me to redo cuts, buy extra wood, settle for less perfect work, then the JET might be in line depending on cost.

I guess I should emphasize that the objective is just to make the cabinets needed in my home, then I may or may not sell the tools off.

Thanks for your very thoughtful message.

Jim
"If a Craftsman is going to cause me to redo cuts, buy extra wood, settle for less perfect work, then the JET might be in line depending on cost. "

You will not have this problem because of the tool.

I would not go into this project thinking it may be a one time effort. As you get into wood working the enjoyment of making your own products grown on you.

I assume that you are going to build the shop before tackling the kitchen cabinets. As you build this shop you will probably get more and more knowledge as to what tools you will want.

Good luck.

George
 

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You're good to disagree with me George and I'm sure others would be with you. Like I said, my experience with my band saw was a nightmare and maybe I bought a lemon that left me with a bad taste.

Now Jim - if you're going to build yourself a workshop, that is a perfect opportunity for you to learn how to build cabinets. Build your self a nice simple workbench using simple joinery. A workbench needs to be secure, stable and smooth surface. Then you can build a router table, or buy a table and build a small cabinet for it. You're workshop will need storage - so let it grow along with your skills. There is a lot to learn about woodworking before you can make cabinets that look as good as the ones you didn't like at HD, things you have no clue - like wood movement.
Wood expands and contracts with the seasons.

Like previously stated - this is a great forum with lots of talent. Many of us like our hobby so much, we love to share. And we can disagree and still like one another. I guess we respect woodworkers.
 

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Listen to cabinetman:

To determine what you would need minimally, you have to decide what kind of cabinet you want to make. What material for the boxes, what finish for the interior, exterior, what type of doors, etc.
 

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Thanks. You can assume my skill level is nil. I have no experience with woodworking beyond cutting pieces of wood with my Skill saw to make crude tables, stands, shelves for my hobbies, etc.

As to whether to buy a dedicated tool (e.g. for making dovetails) or just do it with the TS or by hand, I don't want to spend a lifetime on this and have a busy career, so if something is needed frequently in making cabinets, I would like to buy the tool for it, to get the job done, unless the price makes me decide otherwise. Basically, if a tool will make the cabinets look better, and significantly cut the time needed, I'll tend to buy it. But I don't know what I'm in for here price wise (ergo my question). How I approach all this will be heavily influenced by price. I do not want to start a new hobby of woodworking, and since I love working with wood and really love wood, I have to guard against that. I have hobbies and don't want to take time away from them. So I just want to get the cabinets built, and it will be nice to have the tools when I want to make something else, or I may just sell them, having completed the needed work on the house. So though I love nothing more than a beautifully made, fine tool, spending twice the $$ on a JET if a Craftsman will make just as pretty a cabinet with about the same time investment is probably not the right approach for me. If a Craftsman is going to cause me to redo cuts, buy extra wood, settle for less perfect work, then the JET might be in line depending on cost.

I guess I should emphasize that the objective is just to make the cabinets needed in my home, then I may or may not sell the tools off.

Thanks for your very thoughtful message.

Jim
No disrespect meant here, but based on your comments that you do not have a lot of knowledge about woodworking and you are planning to sell the tools after this job, I would echo the sentiments of several other folks here that you probably should look into purchasing some cabinets instead of building your own. In my experience/opinion, woodworking tools are kind of like golf clubs, its all about the skill of the operator, you could hand me Tiger Woods' clubs and his caddy, I'm still not going to break par. Same concept applies to woodworking tools, you could spend $3000 (or even more) on a really sweet brand new shiny cabinet saw, if you have no experience/training, you're not going to be turning out Stickley furniture.

Cabinetmaking is just one of many "disciplines" within the overarching umbrella of woodworking (turning, casework, intarsia, etc just to name a few), but it is also one of the most difficult, especially when building finish cabinetry for a home. Most folks who do their own cabinets have either (a) gone to school for it or (b) have been working in the field for years to learn how to do it. Like a few folks on here posted, there are more variables than can possibly be listed here that go into cabinet making and it really is much complicated than simply cutting and gluing up some plywood panels. My thoughts are that you likely want these cabinets to look really nice, and while I'm not doubting your erstwhileness, if your first project is cabinets odds are pretty strong that they won't be of the quality your searching for.

You also mention having a busy career and not wanting this project to take a lifetime. I have no clue how many cabinets you are planning to build for this kitchen, but if you're only getting to work on it for maybe an hour or two each evening after work and a little bit on the weekends, its going to take quite a while. I am in the same boat, I am an Army officer and when I'm in a unit 14+ hour days aren't unusual, when you subtract out requisite husband/daddy duties on the weekends my shop time gets very limited, so even the small furniture projects I undertake wind up taking me a long time.

If you are dead set that you're going to do this, however, more important than the tools you purchase will be getting some really good plans. There are plenty of plans out there on how to build cabinets and if you spend some time reading through the forum pages here you'll pick up some great tips and see some folks sharing their experiences (both good and bad). Take the recommendation of another poster to practice by building some cabinets for your shop.
 

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Agreed. You will not come out ahead building your own. It takes a lot of knowledge/experience and many thousands of dollars worth of equipment to produce even mid-range quality cabinets. Not to mention space, assembly tables, jigs, fixtures, and all the other overhead and intangibles that go into a working shop.

Yes, you could buy a few sheets of plywood, cut them up with a circular saw, glue them into boxes and hang them up. But they'll look like they belong in a garage to anyone who sees them.

With some care and basic woodworking tools including a table saw and router you could conceivably build the boxes yourself and then order the doors and drawers from a production shop. Still a lot of time, expense and trouble.

My suggestion for budget cabinets is to look at what Ikea offers.
 

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Well I'm glad we're going in the right direction here. I was softly trying to suggest to you Jim that building cabinets is quite an undertaking and you need a lot of knowledge. It will take years to build a modest amount unless that's all you want to do for the next couple of years. I spent all of 7 months remodeling my kitchen and I bought the cabinets from Home Depot. They are really nice and well made. I figured with the cost of lumber and hardware etc., It didn't cost me much more buying the finished product with soft closing drawers and doors. We have a sliding big drawer for spices and oils etc., sliding shelves, 2 tier utensil drawer and more.

It took me 7 months to remodel and I'm retired. But in my defense, I doubled the size of the kitchen by knocking down 2 weight bearing walls and added part of the barn to the kitchen. I ended up with new floors and ceilings, lighting, plumbing and electrical.

Now for an additional kicker... do you know anything about hanging the cabinets and dealing with uneven floors? This whole new can of worms can get quite complicated especially if you intend on installing expensive counter tops. My wife and I have been in our home for 29 years and we've been talking about a new kitchen for years. So we did not hold back and bought "Silestone" counter tops from Home Depot. They are quartz and we can cut and prepare food right on them and set hot pans right off the stove. These counter tops are warrantied for life... but I was not allowed to install them myself. To warranty them, they had to do the final install to make sure they would be set on a perfectly level surface. The installers were very happy with my set up work and they didn't even use 1 shim. It took them less then an hour to install - but took me days to get all the cabinets level and straight. When installing a line of cabinets, they have to be level and flush and straight. All of this is done on a floor that is not level and walls that only appear to be straight.

None of us want to stop you from doing what you wish, but you are taking a huge task and I hate to say it - you're flying blind. So concentrate on a workshop - learn by doing - and start with baby steps. Good luck and I'm sorry to be the barer of bad news. I'm sure we are all willing to help if you push forward.
 

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What about the house...?


Now Jim - if you're going to build yourself a workshop, that is a perfect opportunity for you to learn how to build cabinets
.

Amen to this :yes:. Learn how to build them by making cabinets for the shop first.

Now the big picture question... what about the house? Are you staying there long term? Do you plan to sell soon? Is your job long term and stable? These are important questions that will determine if you want entry level cabinets from a box store or the next grade better or if you think you can at a minimum duplicate the fit, finish and quality of the low end cabinets...?

As I posted earlier my homebuilt cabinets did not compare to the upper level Wellborn I purchased through a kitchen cabinet store.
These cabinets were part of a $50 K kitchen remodel with an addition, new appliances, cabinets, windows, flooring, and Zodiac quartz countertops....$140/sq ft. I intend to live here forever and have already been here 33 years. The counter top installer and I became friends and we bartered, trading a Viking stove for about 5K in materials. I did the electrical wiring, installed and leveling of the floor, cabinets and hung the uppers.... all of which saved me a bag of money. :thumbsup:


The kitchen is the "showplace" of the home and should be of as high quality as possible to increase it's value and have a good return on your investment. This is as much of a financial decision as it is one of workworking skills and tool purchases. :yes:
 

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The kitchen is the "showplace" of the home and should be of as high quality as possible to increase it's value and have a good return on your investment. This is as much of a financial decision as it is one of workworking skills and tool purchases. :yes:
You nailed it!

I consider the kitchen remodel job I did is about a $60k job that cost me $14,658.37. That includes the cabinets, sink, dishwasher, insulation and all the building materials including lots of new led lighting. I did about 97% of the work (not counting the factory build cabinets which I bought at Home Depot and they are not cheap - well built and I'm happy with the quality). The wife was so impressed with the way I did the work, she's still asking me if I need any more tools.
 
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